Blood Thinner (Coumadin and Heparin) Error Lawyer
Did you suffer an injury related to Coumadin, or have you been hurt through the misuse of Coumadin prescribed by your treating physician?
Do you want to file a medical malpractice claim to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys can hold your physician or pharmacist legally and financially accountable if their medication errors led to internal bleeding or other severe complications.
Contact our medical malpractice law office today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form 24 hours a day to schedule a free consultation. All sensitive or confidential information you share with our medical malpractice lawyers remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Blood Thinning Medicines Cause Severe Medical Problems
Blood clots contribute to severe pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, legs clotting, or death. Therefore, blood-thinning medications are often prescribed to break up existing clots and prevent the formation of others in the future.
The downside is that Coumadin and Heparin have potentially fatal side effects if they are not prescribed or administered correctly.
Pharmaceutical companies are required to warn patients of any risks associated with their medications, and many of the side effects related to blood-thinning drugs are understated or concealed.
The only way to elicit change is to hold these companies accountable when their products become the cause of injury or wrongful death.
Causes of Blood Thinner Misuse or Abuse
One of the primary causes of harmful side effects of blood-thinning medications is overdose. Still, drug interactions and inadequate blood monitoring may also contribute to excessive bleeding or exacerbate the condition.
How Coumadin, Heparin, and similar medications can cause harm include the following.
- Prescribing an incorrect dosage: Overdosing on blood-thinning medicine can result in severe bleeding throughout the body or the heart or brain.
- Improper medication labeling: In some cases, patients have received prescriptions three times as potent as listed on the actual pill. Unfortunately, an error like this does not take long to cause severe complications or fatal events.
- Drug interactions: Blood thinners may react adversely with other medications, but doctors often fail to educate their patients on poor diet and drug interactions. Particular foods act as natural blood thinners and may increase their potency and impact when combined with blood-thinning medicine. Understanding what foods and drugs to avoid is vital when taking blood-thinning medications, and patients have not received the education needed to prevent unintended interactions.
- Human error when administering medication: Nurses or staff members tasked with giving medicines to patients may misread instructions or administer the wrong dose, placing the patient at risk of catastrophic medical problems.
- Insufficient blood monitoring: Excessive bleeding can be life-threatening. Because of that, doctors must test any patient's blood regularly if they take blood thinners to ensure that they are not at risk of a severe bleed and adjust the dosage of medicine prescribed. Regular testing is often considered an inconvenience, but it may alert a doctor to a potential problem early enough to save patients' lives.
What is Coumadin Used to Treat?
Doctors prescribe Coumadin to treat and prevent blood clots, such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Blood clots can obstruct blood flow and lead to a heart attack.
Therefore, Coumadin helps in lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Is Coumadin Prescribed for Anything Other than Treating Blood Clots?
Apart from this, Coumadin is prescribed to treat a wide range of conditions. It helps in:
- Preventing heart attacks and strokes in patients who have had a previous episode of these events or are at risk for them
- Treating certain bleeding disorders called hemophilia and von Willebrand's disease, which is a blood clotting disorder
- Treating people with low platelet levels caused by surgery or cancer treatment
Furthermore, it may be used to treat complications caused by liver disease (hepatic encephalopathy), cataracts, chronic inflammatory lung diseases such as emphysema or COPD. Coumadin can also treat Type 1 diabetes mellitus associated with glucose intolerance (noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) and cerebrovascular insufficiency (decreased blood flow to the brain).
How to Use Coumadin?
Healthcare providers prescribe Coumadin at a specific dosage that is usually taken at a particular time each day. The medicine treats previously diagnosed liver diseases, such as primary biliary cirrhosis or chronic active hepatitis.
In these cases, the doctors often tell the patient to take medicine with food or after eating a meal to help prevent stomach upset and improve absorption. Any experiences of severe reactions when taking the drug requires a discussion with the doctor, who might prescribe a different medicine if needed.
The drug is known to increase the risk of internal bleeding in some individuals who must be cautious, undergo routine monitoring, avoid an overdose, and remain cautious when undergoing a medical procedure like a liver biopsy, an endoscopy, or surgery.
Problems with Coumadin errors typically occur when patients take the prescription medicine for another medical condition requiring specific dosage instructions and monitoring.
For example, if you have liver disease and are taking Coumadin (warfarin) inhibitors with phenobarbital, the chemicals in both drugs could cause your blood to become too thin. So, your healthcare provider may add a bit more Coumadin or make other adjustments in your medicine schedule to prevent excess bleeding.
Is Coumadin an Anticoagulant?
Coumadin is a blood thinner used as an anticoagulant medication, inhibiting, or preventing blood clotting.
The dangerous reactions of anticoagulants may include difficulty breathing, swelling of legs or feet, and internal bleeding in any part of the body, including eyes, ears, and mouth. However, these are very rare cases.
Side Effects of Coumadin
Uncontrollable bleeding is a severe side effect of Coumadin that increases the risk of severe reactions leading to medical problems for patients diagnosed with other conditions.
The following circumstances increase a patient's risk of suffering from Coumadin's primary side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Long-term usage of Coumadin
- Incorrect dosing of Coumadin
- Being over 65 years of age
- Low blood count as a result of a medical condition
- A medical condition causing liver or kidney problems
- A patient with cancer
Apart from excessive bleeding, there are some other dangerous effects of Coumadin too.
- Swelling and pain
- Necrosis or tissue death
- Purple toe syndrome (clots forming in the feet)
- Vision changes
- Severe stomach aches
- Joint pain
- Discoloration of the urine
Coumadin can also lead to birth defects (congenital disabilities) in pregnant women. Therefore, it's imperative to communicate an ongoing or expected pregnancy with your healthcare provider if they prescribe this drug to you.
Moreover, Coumadin (warfarin) may have specific dangerous reactions if it interacts with other drugs in the body. The medicine also interacts with some foods, such as garlic, black licorice, and Vitamin K-rich foods, so it's important to lower or avoid their consumption while using Coumadin.
Likewise, the medicine can inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors and impede the blood's coagulant properties, preventing the formation of clots and embolisms that could lead to stroke or a heart attack.
When You Should Speak to a Doctor
Did you receive a prescription of Coumadin (warfarin) to prevent blood clots? If so, the doctor may have given too much or too little. Thus, you can experience side effects.
Therefore, it's imperative to speak to your healthcare provider if you notice:
- Blood in the urine that appears brown or red
- Vomiting up a mixture looking like coffee grounds
- Bloody or black feces
- Coughing up blood
- Abnormal bruising on the skin
- Severe headache or stomach ache
All these serious adverse effects are related to Coumadin and are caused by medication errors. Therefore, doctors must check the patient's medical history and other factors when prescribing warfarin to prevent injury because of misuse of the drug.
However, if you experience these adverse effects, you can file a malpractice claim against your doctor after consulting with a relevant lawyer.
Coumadin (warfarin) toxicity refers to the detrimental effects caused by higher-than-normal medicine levels.
The drug thins the blood preventing clots from forming in the body. However, it can also cause internal bleeding complications if doses are too high or for long periods. Abnormal bleeding can occur anywhere, including the brain or gastrointestinal tract.
Some symptoms of Coumadin toxicity include:
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Nose bleeds
- Frequent headaches
- Severe abdominal pain
- Bloody urine and stools
- Heavy menstrual flow with clotting
- Black tarry stool or red-brown urine
The best way to prevent these problems is by closely monitoring doses and blood levels when taking this medication.
Lawsuits Against Coumadin
If a patient experiences harm during Coumadin use, they can file a lawsuit against the drug's manufacturers. You can file a case in the following circumstances:
- Experiencing a side effect not yet specified by the manufacturers
- Experiencing potentially fatal effects
- Defective medicines
- Birth defects (congenital disabilities)
Medical Malpractice in Coumadin Prescription
A patient can file a malpractice claim against a doctor who may have prescribed an incorrect dose, leading to excessive bleeding or other adverse effects.
More importantly, healthcare providers have to conduct regular blood work on Coumadin patients to ensure they are well. If a physician fails to do this, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
Class action lawsuits are ideal for injuries because of Coumadin use. In this way, each plaintiff bears less financial burden and hassle than they would have to take on if they were suing the pharmaceutical company themselves.
When You Need Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The misuse of Coumadin or its incorrect prescription can lead to several adverse effects. First, the dealings of such cases are inherently complex.
Thus, hiring a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer with years of experience handling medical malpractice claims is essential.
The attorney's law firm can provide legal representation in legal proceedings, file your medical malpractice claim, and increase the potential of getting compensation for the responsible party's negligence.
Competent personal injury lawyers with years of experience will offer a free consultation. In addition, the law firm will discuss all the opportunities to file a civil lawsuit to hold the health care provider, hospital, or others responsible for a medical malpractice error that led to an overdose, dangerous condition, severe injury, or death related to Coumadin.
Call our attorneys today at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form to discuss how a Coumadin error injured you.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice
Statute of limitations is when the affected can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the offender, the doctor, pharmacist, or hospital. The statute of limitations for different types of medical malpractice varies.
The statute can limit how long victims must file a medical malpractice claim from 2 to 10 years, depending on the circumstances.
Thus, the patient must sue the doctor for medical negligence or the pharmaceutical company for misinformation within this duration to get compensation for their pain and suffering. The statute can be extended in exceptional cases.
Coumadin Monitoring in Nursing Homes
The care in US nursing homes isn't exemplary, and multiple studies have reflected that. For example, a study showed that warfarin use in nursing homes is raising safety concerns.
Some typical bleeding events in these situations are:
- Ecchymoses (discoloration of the skin because of subdermal bleeding)
- Gross hematuria (excessive blood in the urine)
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Microhematuria (small amounts of blood in the urine)
These adverse effects can be prevented by educating the nursing home staff about proper Coumadin use. Any misuse of the medicine could cause severe bleeding complications. But if you or one of your loved ones has sustained injuries because of the misuse of this drug, you can file for medical malpractice.
Overdose of anticoagulant medications is hazardous, and you need to call the best attorney if you want to win class-action lawsuits or personal cases against large pharma companies or hospitals.
Coumadin Errors in Hospitals
Coumadin errors also take place in hospitalized patients. A Coumadin error in the hospital can occur in several ways. One way is for an inaccurate dose to be administered to the patient, usually due to misreading the dosage or failure to recognize that more than one drug was ordered.
A Coumadin overdose can cause bleeding and even death if this patient comes in contact with certain substances such as tetracycline antibiotics.
These antibiotics break down proteins contained within red blood cells, thus causing them to decrease oxygen getting through the body system.
Determining Liability in a Coumadin Error Case Involving a Nursing Home or Hospital
When a victim suffers from adverse effects of blood-thinning, it is essential to determine the cause of their injuries to demand accountability from the right parties.
In addition, as complications can result from numerous human or manufacturing errors, it is essential first to understand the events as they unfolded to build a solid case.
It is essential to collect all records documenting when your doctor prescribed your medication, at what dosage, who administered the medicine or filled the prescription. In addition, these records can trace the series of events preceding your injury.
Sample Coumadin and Heparin Malpractice Awards & Settlements
Here are some examples of coumadin and heparin medical malpractice settlements:
$1,800,000 Settlement; Coumadin and Heparin Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This medical malpractice case involving a 34-year-old woman escalated from a common accident to a severe medical condition after slipping and falling. That accident caused an injury to her knee and popliteal artery.
Unfortunately, the surgeon failed to fix her medical condition. Plus, her primary doctor did not notice her allergic reaction to Heparin, typically taken to thin the blood.
The complication caused frequent blood clotting. Finally, the surgeon amputated her leg above the knee to save her life.
The plaintiff's law firm filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors for her preventable medical condition and received $1.8 million during a negotiated settlement. That figure represents her enormous damages, including pain, disfigurement, lost everyday life, and medical bills totaling over $600,000.
$950,000 Settlement; Coumadin and Heparin Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
A 55-year-old plaintiff suffered a stroke and was relocated to a facility for treatment and rehab. Unfortunately, while staying there, he developed thrombosis that affected his lungs and died.
His estate's law firm filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the facility. The estate's lawyers argued that the staff should have recognized and prevented these developments. The defendants replied that they offered him Heparin, but he refused.
The defendants also claimed that the thrombosis and subsequent stroke could have occurred from other sources beyond their control. The plaintiffs contended that another medication should have been substituted for Heparin when the patient refused the drug.
Eventually, this fact-intensive matter was ended privately to prevent a jury trial. The defendant's facility offered $750,000 to settle, and the defendant's doctor offered the plaintiff $200,000 to settle. The plaintiffs agreed and recovered $950,000.
$130,000 Settlement; Coumadin and Heparin Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
The 53-year-old male patient with pre-existing conditions, including blood pressure and smoking, had previously suffered a stroke when doctors prescribed a series of medications, including antiplatelet prescriptions, not involving Coumadin.
The plaintiff's medical malpractice attorneys argued that omitting Coumadin led to blood clots in a subsequent stroke, leaving him debilitated and without adult mental capacity. The family's lawyers stated that this prescription error stemmed from an incorrect assessment of the original stroke.
Doctors thought the problem was venous-related; however, the condition was the result of an arterial blockage. The defendants chose to settle out of court, negotiating a $130,000 negotiated agreement. That low figure might be because of the man's feeble health before these events.
$1,169,000 Verdict; Coumadin and Heparin Malpractice; Cook County, Illinois
This medical malpractice case involves an 80-year-old woman with a medical history of a stroke and atrial fibrillation entering a nursing home after falling and breaking her ankle and receiving Coumadin.
While at the nursing home, her doctor took her off Coumadin, concerned about her thin blood and potential internal bleeding. However, removing the Coumadin could lead to a stroke.
The woman experienced an embolic stroke, leading to memory loss, speech difficulty, bladder disorders, and immobility. She sued the doctors and facility, arguing they were negligent for failing to put her back on Coumadin.
As the plaintiff, she claimed damages for pain, lost everyday life, medical bills (over $400,000), and other damages. The defendants refused to settle, replying that Coumadin did not cause the stroke, saying her other medical problems contributed to her condition.
Yet, a jury sided with the woman, awarding her over $1 million for economic and non-economic damages.
Hire Malpractice Attorneys to Obtain Financial Compensation for Medical Negligence
Do you suspect that you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice? Have you suffered a preventable injury through an overdose of Coumadin, or did your doctor fail to monitor your therapeutic dose, leading to severe complications?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our malpractice attorneys are available 24 hours a day to discuss your medical problems, review your medical records, or chat online to hear what happened.
Contact our law office today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to use the contact form for a free consultation.
All sensitive or confidential information you share with your Coumadin error lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our law firm accepts every medical malpractice claim, personal injury case, and wrongful death lawsuit through a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures that you pay no legal fees until we successfully resolve your legal issue through a negotiated agreement or jury verdict.